Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Leo Sayer

  • Silverbird [Warner Bros., 1973] B-
  • Just a Boy [Warner Bros., 1975] C+
  • Another Year [Warner Bros., 1975] B-
  • Endless Flight [Warner Bros., 1976] B
  • Thunder in My Heart [Warner Bros., 1977] C
  • Leo Sayer [Warner Bros., 1978] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Silverbird [Warner Bros., 1973]
The musical tricks repeat themselves, but they're good--the sharp, punky growl that accedes so naturally to the vulnerable falsetto, the punch of the drums against the depth of the strings. But the words fail me. Sayer makes much of his mask--a mask so enigmatic that it registers, at best, as a blank. Why then should I wonder what's behind it? B-

Just a Boy [Warner Bros., 1975]
Personally, I took him more seriously in his clown suit. C+

Another Year [Warner Bros., 1975]
Leo sounds so much like Elton this time that I thought I'd finally figured him out, for like Numero Uno he seems very aware that people buy hooks, not words, belting/crooning every lyric with the same synthetic intensity regardless of its worth. The switch to a social realist tack here would then be explained by the presence of new songwriting collaborator Frank Farrell. My problem: Sayer writes the words, Farrell the melodies. Sayer's problem: we love Elton for his megalomania, and megalomania is something you have to earn. B-

Endless Flight [Warner Bros., 1976]
Like his great (also greater) exemplar, Leo has abandoned all pretensions mid-career (except on the title cut). And sure enough, Warners has now broken three big singles off this album, which makes 1977 the year of Leo Sayer the way 1976 was the year of Fleetwood Mac. Not quite as gratifying, is it? My pick for number four: "I Think We Fell in Love Too Fast," a natural for the young divorcee crowd. B

Thunder in My Heart [Warner Bros., 1977]
That ain't thunder, Leo, it's the pitter-patter of little duds. C

Leo Sayer [Warner Bros., 1978]
The wee hitmaker covers "La Booga Rooga," which means admirers of Andy Fairweather Low should be pleased. We'd be even more pleased if Leo didn't do the same favor four times over for admirers of Tom Snow. C+